| Detroit Free Press
Debating how big a challenge Atlanta Falcons pose for Detroit Lions
Talking Detroit Lions and the playoffs, and debating the game against the Atlanta Falcons and the challenge they pose in Week 7. Filmed Oct. 23, 2020.
Kenny Golladay is going about this all wrong.
If the Detroit Lions receiver wants to get paid, he needs to be smarter about how he delivers his message.
That means no crude, thinly veiled messages on Instagram like the one he posted after his big game Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. “This shit gone cost you!” Golladay wrote. “Don’t let that go over y’all head…”
Ugh. C’mon, man.
Yeah, I know Golladay must be frustrated with the stalemate in his contract talks with the Lions. I believe he deserves a huge payday as the Lions’ only legitimate deep threat and as an emerging elite player who led the NFL in receiving touchdowns last year.
I get it. And I think the Lions should make sure he spends the rest of his prime years in Detroit.
But Golladay isn’t doing himself any favors by posting this garbage on social media, and here’s why: No matter who you are — emerging NFL superstar or assistant bedpan cleaner — you have to understand who your boss is.
In Golladay’s case, that’s Lions head coach Matt Patricia. And Patricia is all about the team. Not individual players. Team.
If there’s one theme that runs through the way Patricia has constructed the Lions, it’s the idea the team is above all else. It’s about putting the team first, second and last.
This is why you don’t see a lot of divas on the Lions. It’s why Golden Tate, Quandre Diggs and Darius Slay aren’t here anymore. It’s why Trey Flowers, Adrian Peterson and Frank Ragnow are.
I’m sure Patricia, like just about any other coach, doesn’t appreciate it when individual players put themselves ahead of the team. And he would be right to feel this way. Once you start making exceptions for exceptional players, you become a team of exceptions – and inequities.
When Patricia was asked about Golladay’s contract status Thursday, he didn’t say much, yet his answer spoke volumes.
“He’s made some unbelievable plays in the game that I think were great,” Patricia said. “I think he’s a great part of our team. He’s dynamic and I love being around him, and I love coaching him.”
He’s a great part of our team. Maybe that’s all Patricia should have said.
To be clear, I’m not cheerleading for Patricia and dumping on Golladay. I understand where they’re both coming from. And their paths to success aren’t entirely different. They’ve both beaten the odds and built careers out of nothing. They’ve earned what they’ve gotten.
In Golladay’s case, he was a late bloomer and a lightly recruited 5-foot-11 junior coming out of high school in Chicago. His only scholarship offer as a senior was from North Dakota, an FCS team. After his coach was fired there, he transferred to Northern Illinois, an FBS mid-major.
The Lions didn’t draft him until the third round in 2017 – the year before Patricia was hired. He’s playing on the final year of his rookie contract that he signed for $3,196,324. He’s a Pro Bowler with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, which makes him severely underpaid and one of the NFL’s best bargains.
And there’s something else. Golladay has a big chip on his shoulder. That can be a good thing, but sometimes it’s not.
Golladay grew up a Bears fan but doesn’t even like saying their name after they passed on him twice in the draft before the Lions took him 96th overall. He prefers to call them “that team from the Northside.”
It’s understandable Golladay has a lot of pent-up frustration. He has carved a career out of nothing. He has fought his through the college football ranks, clawed his way up the depth chart and molded himself into a great player.
But in all that carving and molding, the chip on his shoulder remains. I think it’s what drives him to succeed and what makes him good.
The chip is his edge. But it cuts both ways.
Because no team – no employer, no boss – wants to be publicly pressured into appeasing a player’s demands. No team wants to appear to be seen placating the petulance of a frustrated player by showering him with millions of dollars.
Golladay needs to ask himself: Does he think posting his message on Instagram helps or hurts his case with Patricia and Lions ownership? Because it might feel good to publicly vent some frustration and get a bunch of attaboys in the often vacuous, shallow world of social media. But that world doesn’t pay you.
Instead, Golladay might consider taking a different tack. Perhaps one similar to Peterson’s. While Golladay celebrated the Lions’ win with boastful bluster, Peterson celebrated with an Instagram video of his 1-yard touchdown run that featured great blocking by his fullback and the offensive line with the caption: “One Heart, One Team, One Goal, Great win!!!”
It’s probably not a coincidence Peterson, who is on his fifth team at age 35, keeps getting job after job.
Golladay could learn a valuable lesson from Peterson, and maybe even this column. Because I’m sure he doesn’t want his coach or team owner to read more boorish Instagram posts and think to themselves: “This stuff gone cost you!”
Contact Carlos Monarrez at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.